For Inmediate Release

In Celebration of European Week Against Cancer 2018, the European Institute of Women’s Health launches its latest policy brief, “Women and Ovarian Cancer in the EU,” and calls on Europe to urgently tackle this silent killer.


25th of May 2018European Week Against Cancer (EWAC) is held from the 25th to 31st of May annually to raise cancer awareness, promote treatment access and support for patients as well as survivors.  In celebration of #EWAC2018, the European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) officially launches its latest policy brief, “Women and Ovarian Cancer in the EU” and calls on key stakeholders throughout Europe to urgently work together to combat this “Silent Killer.”

Ovarian cancer is the 7th most common cancer and 6th most common cancer death for women globally, with the lowest survival rate of all gynaecological cancers.  Europe has the highest rates of ovarian cancer in the world. In 2012, 65,000 women in Europe had ovarian cancer, resulting in more than 42,700 deaths.

Ovarian cancer is often misdiagnosed, or its diagnosis is delayed.  Its symptoms can often be attributed to other conditions.  About 60% of those with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at a late stage (Stage III or IV), and only 45% of women diagnosed survive for five years.  Socioeconomic and racial inequities further exacerbate diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.

Despite its lethality, there are currently no effective population-based screening programmes for ovarian cancer or simple diagnostic tests.  The lack of sufficient screening and early detection measures results in substantive costs both for the patient and for the healthcare system.

There is a lack of understanding about ovarian cancer. Health literacy campaigns to educate key stakeholders—including women themselves—about ovarian cancer should be promoted. More should be done to promote the understanding of ovarian cancer both amongst high risk groups, particularly those with a BRCA mutation, and in the general population.  Vulnerable groups should be specifically targeted in order to reduce inequities.

Efforts must be made to increase the understanding of and research on ovarian cancer in order to combat this deadly condition.  Policymakers and key stakeholders should support to improve ovarian cancer awareness, data, research, diagnosis, treatment and care.  During #EWAC2018, the EIWH calls on key stakeholders and citizens of Europe to work together to reduce inequities.  The EIWH calls for new policies that combat this silent killer that is affecting too many women.


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About the EIWH

Founded in 1996, the European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that uses an evidence-based to advocate for an equitable, sex- and gender-sensitive approach in health policy, research, promotion, treatment and care.  The Institute promotes biomedical and socio-economic research that addresses sex and gender-based differences to ensure access to quality treatment and care for women across their lifespan.  The EIWH strives to reduce inequities by drawing policymaker’s attention to the obstacles that women in minority, migrant, refugee and socio-economic disadvantaged groups face.  The Institute’s activities work to empower individuals to play an active part in their own health management.



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